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The advancements in equipment and techniques concerning cannabis over the past few years has proven that there’s a multitude of options for consuming it. Some people prefer the tried and true effects of smoking flowers through a waterpipe, while others have delved into the newer, more intense world of cannabis concentrates. Commonly referred to as dabbing, consuming concentrates is not as simple as sticking it in a pipe and lighting it (unless it’s to top off a bowl full of dry herbs with some crumble or you’re using a Healthstone bowl). Instead of combusted, dabs are traditionally vaporized on a glass or metal nail that’s heated by a butane torch, or on the atomizer of an electronic vaporizer.

The obvious danger of using a torch indoors, aside, the cost of butane can add up over time and leave you searching for cheaper alternatives. In the past there have been horror stories of torches failing to turn off or exploding due to mishandling or an unexpected malfunction. Using a propane torch may be slightly less expensive, but it causes the nail to oxidize and therefore age more quickly than the standard fuel source for the job. Those who need to consume larger quantities in one dab, like patients seeking relief from severe symptoms and recreational consumers with higher tolerances, may find that the nail temperature falls below that which is optimal for vaporization before they can finish applying the concentrate. This inefficiency limits their ability to receive the full effects that they are seeking, whether it’s for relief or recreational enjoyment.

What is an Electric Nail?

An electric nail is a box that controls the temperature of the nail by wrapping it with a heated coil. These metal rings can either be flat or stacked vertically in both 16 and 20 millimeter circumferences. The rectangular interface of the box controls the temperature and power to the coil. Visible on the feature image at the top of this page, the four buttons on the face of the device adjust the temperature up and down by the individual degree.

Most units will display two numbers; the bottom number represents the chosen temperature, while top one reads the coil’s actual temperature. Knowing the exact temperature of the coil is helpful in cases like turning on or off your unit to prevent getting burned when setting things up or breaking things down. Without this information, you would have to hold your hand over the nail to figure out if it was ready to be touched. As is the case with taking low-temperature dabs, prematurely applying the concentrate could be wasteful, and an electric nail eliminates this guessing game. To further enhance the flavorful (terpene) experience of low temperature dabs, an electric nail can be paired with a glass or titanium carb cap.

electric guide dabbing guideNail wrapped with an electric (heatable) coil.

Dabbing with an electric nail limits mobility but carries with it many benefits to win over cannabis concentrate connoisseurs. Ditching butane is not only cost effective and less dangerous without the open flame of a torch, but it also reduces the amount of packaged good waste entering the environment. Having the ability to take large low-temperature dabs at a uniform level sets the stage for anyone to begin comparing the taste and effects of different strains in a controlled environment.

electric nail dabsLeft to right: silicon concentrates container, electric nail box, nail, carb cap.

Electric Nail Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Experience the flavor (terpene profile) and smooth hits of low-temperature dabs.
  • Don’t buy butane or risk running out of fuel.
  • No waiting for a torch to heat the nail.
  • No more guessing whether the nail is at the correct temperature.
  • Create a standard temperature to compare different concentrates.

Cons

  • Requires an electricity source.
  • Cost of using electricity.
  • Coils must be replaced eventually.
  • Less convenient for travel.

photo credit: thedabstoreHumboltenail, theterpz

Tyler Curtis

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